Laser Defense Against UAVs being Developed
Every other week it seems like drones are becoming more used and more useful for a myriad of purposes. Not all of those purposes are benign though and one day we could see small drones being used to track our nation's warriors, and put them at risk. To protect at least Marine Corps, the Office of Naval Research, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgreen Division, and industry partners are working on laser weapons that can track and shoot UAVs out of the sky, from light vehicles.
The military expects that in the future, our enemies will be using UAVs to track and target forces, making a system to defeat the drones invaluable. The Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move program, or GBAD program, is meant to produce an affordable system for doing just that by destroying the drones. The lasers would be mounted on light vehicles like Humvees and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. When a drone comes into the area, the system will acquire and track it, while the vehicle is in motion, and ultimately destroy it.
Some of the system's components have already been proven to work for tracking UAVs and later this year a version of the system with a 10 kW laser is to be tested. That system is meant to be a stepping stone to one with a 30 kW laser, which should be ready for field testing in 2016, when more complex trials will begin.
Source: Office of Naval Research